Our Bible reading is about much more than reading. Proverbs calls us to incline our ears and apply our hearts. In this lab, John Piper highlights these two major principles for getting the most out of your time in God’s word.
Principle for Bible Reading
Some phrases in the Bible have become so familiar, we’ve never really stopped to ask what they mean (e.g. “apply your heart to God’s word”). We have to slow down enough to really ask what these words and phrases mean, so that we can put them into practice in our lives, and in this case, in our Bible reading.
- What do you think it means to “incline your ear” in Proverbs 22:17? What might that look like in your daily life?
- What do you think it means to “apply your heart” in Proverbs 22:17–18? What might that look like in someone’s daily life?
- Now, how do those two exercises relate to each other in our personal (or corporate) Bible reading?
Incline Your Ear (03:32–05:45)
- Do you incline your ear (or eye) to the Bible when you read it? (Proverbs 22:17)
- Inclining your ear means paying close attention and observing carefully.
- We have to slow down to do this.
- Remove distractions, and be willing to read something over and over again until you understand it.
- We have to give rigorous attention to each line and even to each word.
Apply Your Heart (05:45–09:41)
- “Apply your heart to knowledge.” (Proverbs 22:17)
- The heart is an organ that takes pleasure (or displeasure) in something. It enjoys or values things. (Proverbs 22:17–18)
- The heart is moving through mere knowing to feelings, to treasuring something.
- Do you fix your heart on a truth to try and feel something?
- Pursue the pleasure that is in the object of observation, the words and truths in front of you. Apply your heart to knowledge.
- The effort to discern meaning with feeling cannot be done without prayer.